Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice

Document Type



Ecological literacy in students has become an increasing concern for educators. Mounting environmental problems along with a growing amount of nature deficit disorder seen in children and adults alike provides the impetus for research in this area. Since many college biology classes are modeled around the same style and emphasis found in the textbooks used for those courses, this provided an avenue for an examination of these materials. This research involved the selection of five popular introductory, college-level biology textbooks for analysis. Three rubrics were created to assess the graphical components of the introductory and ecology chapters in each textbook. The Systems-based Rubric (SR) was created to quantitatively assess the systems-based components of each graphic. The Tuftian Rubric (TR) was created to assess how well graphics comply with Tuftian rules of good graphics. The Ethnographic Systems-based Rubric (ESR) was created to qualitatively assess the systems-based nature of each graphic. The results of this analysis revealed that all of the textbooks examined, based upon analyzed graphics, could be classified as strongly Tuftian in nature. The results of this analysis also suggested that none of the textbooks assessed could be quantitative nor could they be qualitatively classified as strongly systems-based. Even when examining individual chapters of each book, all of the chapters were classified quantitatively and qualitatively as primarily reductionistic.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Sulentic Dowell, Margaret-Mary



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Education Commons